Friday, 14 September 2018

J M Band

The following entry is from They Answered The CallClick here for the contents page.

John Morrell BAND

Service number: no number.  Age: 37 years 5 months.  Enlisted: 1 Sep 1939.

Occupation: Merchant mariner.  Next of kin: (wife) Mrs Clara Band.
Address on enlistment:  White Patch, Bribie Island.
 The main naval store of the RAN Base
HMAS Basilisk, Port Moresby, New Guinea.

Service Summary:
1 Sep 1939: Royal Australian Naval Reserve, on armed merchant cruiser H.M.S. Moreton Bay (patrols in Japanese waters); HMAS Moresby; cruiser Hobart (during the battle of the Coral Sea).

Oct 1942: Combined (Operations) Training Centre (CTC) at Toorbul Point.

Jan 1943: Officer in Command mobile base staff, Port Moresby; port director at Buna, Papua; HMAS Basilisk.

23 Jun 1943: Killed in action. Buried at the Port Moresby (Bomana) War Cemetery.[2] 

Roll of Honour: John Morrell Band's name is located at panel 1 in the Commemorative Area at the Australian War Memorial in Canberra.[3]

Service Details:
“1 Jul 1942 Major Rose had been appointed to the Staff of the Combined (Operations) Training Centre (CTC) Toorbul Point at the rank of Lieutenant Colonel, to organise and control the army wing of the Toorbul-Bribie Island Combined Training School. The headquarters of the CTC was in the house of Mr Colin Clark. The naval wing, commanded by Sub-Lieutenant (later Lieutenant-Commander) John Morrell Band from Oct 1942, was to include landing craft and crews, but at this early stage no landing craft were available, and initially training used army folding boats and local motor craft. For example, the passenger ferry SS Koopa was among the larger civilian vessels requisitioned by the Royal Australian Navy (RAN) for use at the CTC.”[4]

“On 4 Sep 1943 the 2/15 Battalion landed on Red Beach, 15 miles north-west of Lae. Shortly after it fought its way ashore at Scarlet Beach near Finschhafen and defended the area against Japanese counter-attack.”[5]

“On 22 Sep 1943 Lieutenant Commander John Band led the beach party accompanying the seaborne assault against Finschhafen, New Guinea. As beachmaster, he was responsible for placing markers and for providing inshore navigational assistance to subsequent waves of landing craft. The first attackers arrived at 4.45 that morning, but — due to an error — found themselves at Siki Cove, south of their objective of Scarlet Beach. Band leapt ashore and called his men to follow. According to one account, a Japanese shouted, 'Who's there?' Band answered, 'The navy', and was hit by a burst of machine-gun fire. Despite his wounds, he continued to direct operations and saved a group of vessels from beaching in the wrong position. He died next day, aged 41 years. He was later buried in Bomana war cemetery, Port Moresby; his wife and daughter survived him; he was posthumously awarded the United States Navy Cross.”[6]

Life Summary:
John Morrell Band was born on 22 Mar 1902 at South Shields, County of Durham, England, son of John Oliver Band, master mariner, and his wife Margaret nee Morrell. He followed his father into the Merchant Navy, gaining his first-mate’s certificate in 1924. When his venture as part-owner of a trading vessel was curtailed by the Depression, Band went to China and accumulated enough money to settle on a farm at Nyeri, Kenya. In 1932 at Nanyuki he married Clara Violet Howes. [7]

By the late 1930s he was sailing in coastal steamers in the Pacific and leased of land at White Patch (portion 19) on Bribie Island.

J.M. Band briefly held portion 19 near White Patch on Bribie Island.[8]

Further information about John’s naval service is available on the RAN website.[9] 

John Morrell Band is buried at the Port Moresby (Bomana) War Cemetery.[10]

[1] Courtesy of the Australian War Memorial 074845
[4] Combined (Operations) Training Centre, Toorbul Point [7th Amphibious Training Centre and 1st Water Transport Training Centre] history.
[5] 2/15 Battalion Official War Diary, Australian War Memorial
[6] Source: ADB entry John Morrell Band by Hugh Jarrett (1993)
[7] Source: ADB entry John Morrell Band by Hugh Jarrett (1993)
[8] Source: 1952 map of Parish of Woorim, Queensland State Archives ID 327808

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